Conservative candidate Andy Burton spent Monday (June 21) touring the islands, starting off at the coffee shop in Sandspit and ending with dinner in Masset.
Accompanied by wife Ann, he was in a confident mood, predicting that the Conservatives would win a majority government and that he would be returned for a second term as MP.
He’s spent the last four weeks travelling throughout the vast riding, knocking on doors, drinking coffee with volunteers and supporters, and participating in several debates.
The top concerns of northwest voters are health care and the economy, he said, adding that the economy is a bigger issue in the eastern part of the riding, while offshore oil and gas is on the minds of voters in the west.
On the offshore oil and gas moratorium, Mr. Burton is crystal clear. A Conservative government would lift it in order to explore and find out exactly what kind of resources are beneath the ocean floor.
“I just don’t see how we can be negative about what’s out there,” he said. “Let’s do the exploratory work.”
Mr. Burton said he has travelled to other countries which exploit offshore resources, and is convinced that exploration and drilling can be done safely.
Asked to sum up the Conservative appeal in one or two sentences, Mr. Burton said: “Our government is business-oriented. One of our philosophies is more business, less intervention.”
On aboriginal issues, Mr. Burton said the Conservative platform calls for private property on reserves.
“We certainly believe there should be private ownership,” he said. “That’s a pretty radical departure from the current system, but the current system isn’t working.”
The two highlights of his campaign, Mr. Burton said with a laugh, were being bitten by a dog in Prince Rupert, and receiving a quasi-marriage proposal in Kitimat.
The Prince Rupert dog bite, received last week while he was on his way to knock on a resident’s door, was severe enough to send him to the hospital. He said he’s not sure if the dog’s owner is going to vote for him, but the doctors said they would. In Kitimat, he handed out pamphlets to a couple of young women working in a store. Later, he saw one of them had written “Potential Husband” next to his picture.
“You gotta have fun,” he said.
He plans to spend election day travelling across the eastern part of the riding, winding up at his campaign office in Terrace.
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